“Too many bands now try to write what they think people want to hear instead of writing from their heart. When you don’t care what people think and you write and play, it comes across a lot more genuine. You’re not doing it for success, stardom, or profit. This is what you need for yourself, for your sanity, and a preservation of self. Your goal is not to reach out and touch people. It’s basically a selfish thing. You’re doing it for you and it just so happens other people feel the same way. “ -Lou Beato
Fallout was the beginning of it all. How did it begin and what was Fallout about?
Fallout was an existing band I joined when I was 15. I was already playing with some friends of mine and we were looking for a bass player. I went to the local music store because there was a bulletin board where people would post about their bands or needing people for their bands and I was looking for a bass player. I saw this little hand written index card that said, “Fallout, 4 piece metal band seeking hyperactive psychotic drummer.” with hand drawn fallout shelter logo. I took the card down and I knew I already had a band but if we couldn’t find a bass player I would see what that number was all about. When I got home I convinced myself I was going to call this number first and it said on the card, “Call Pete”. So I called and I got Pete on the phone and this deep voice is asking me some simple questions about who I was, what I played, and what school I went too. I told him Nazareth and then Pete was like, “Well maybe you know my guitarist John Campos?” I had heard of him and I have seen him playing out in the back of the school. He’s phenomenal. I was enamored with the fact that I knew this guy was good at playing his instrument and I was excited to play with this guy.
So I had this really old four piece drum set and I had my dad drive me to Josh’s house, where the band rehearsed. Josh answered the door very business like and very dry, “Are you the drummer?” I said “yeah” and he said, “Around the back.” Not a cordial greeting. No “Hi my name is Josh.” So I was like oh boy this guy’s gonna be tough. So I went around back and I set my drums up downstairs and that’s when I first laid eyes on Pete. I was like holy shit look at this guy. I mean he was a giant, stop you in your tracks kinda tall. He looks at me and says in this deep voice, “Hi I’m Pete, nice to meet you.” I remember he had to keep his head bent when we were in the basement. So I started to play a few Black Sabbath tracks and some other things and eventually they all went upstairs. But this band had their whole entourage with them. Like friends from the neighborhood that I eventually found out were photographers, managers, and road crew, for this band. They came back down and let me know I was in the band. So I started breaking down my drums, ya know I was gonna take em home and they were just like, “Leave em here.” Josh seemed a lot nicer at this point.
This was an original band that wanted to become legit. So it was hard sometimes to get gigs because venues and clubs wanted you to play cover tunes and that wasn’t what Fallout was about. I remember the few gigs we did play we played two sets. One part of the set would be military themed. We would wear camouflage, barbwire, and have props on stage, ya know? The next set was kinda black metal-ish. We had candles on stage; we wore black, and occasionally have a smoke machine to create that whole Black Sabbath theme on stage. They were really ahead of their time. It was the beginning of two very different styles of music that branched off from that band. We had two very different and strong songwriters. John Campos and Peter. Their styles together were interesting. It had finesse yet heaviness. Aside from Peter and I being best friends, one of the things I loved about playing with him is that he always fulfilled me as a drummer and he always played things I wanted to hear. There was always room for me to lay down the drums that I felt fit to what he was writing. It was always without objection. He gave us the bones of the song and the meat was packed on by the rest of us.
Why did Fallout breakup?
There was a time when Peter didn’t want to have keyboards in the music. He felt it was for a softer style and he was wanting to branch away from that. You see you had John and Josh wanting to take the band into a more mainstream area and then you had Peter whose writing became a lot heavier and darker and it wasn’t something at the time that the major labels would be interested in. Peter wanted to be the “big fish in the little pond”. Fallout had a very solid and loyal following and Peter didn’t want to compromise that by being a “little fish in a big pond’, to quote Peter. So eventually Fallout split in half and John and Josh formed a band called Original Sin. Before Peter and I even began calling ourselves Carnivore we called ourselves Disciples.
So how did you guys get the name Carnivore?
We didn’t keep the Disciples name for very long because it just didn’t fit the style of music we wanted to do. So we had a song called Carnivore and that’s what we ended up naming the band. It just fit us better. Here’s a funny story, There was a time when Peter wanted to change Carnivore to Biohazard and I told him nah because we already had so much invested in the Carnivore name. Most people know that Peter suggested that Biohazard call themselves Biohazard. I worked in a medical facility and I got my hands on these biohazard stickers and Peter went to visit some of our friends in their studio once and told them that they should call themselves Biohazard. So that’s how that came about.
What did Carnivore represent?
Oh boy, I’ll tell ya. I don’t even know where to begin on that one. (laughs)
Carnivore was the Howard Stern of music. We were pushing the envelope constantly. It was always about being extreme. We were trying to present this heavy large barbaric vibe and everything surrounded that. My drum set I got for my 17th birthday, I still have it, and they were over the top. I had 2 26’ bass drums. No one had that. I figured out why when I unpacked them they were so large I couldn’t reach my hi-hat. But I got used to them. (laughs) We didn’t take ourselves seriously. Even the name. What do people think about when they hear Carnivore? They think of a predator, something that eats meat, and kills. That’s what we wanted to be and the music reflected that. We were very influenced by the movie Road Warrior. We were a rogue band of scavengers looking for anything and taking it.
What type of challenges did you guys face singing in Carnivore?
Peter always pushed the envelope with the lyrics and I remember after we recorded our first demo I kept thinking how was I going to explain this to my mom. (laughs) But I was too proud of it to shy away from it. So when the song Carnivore was playing and Peter gets to the part that says, “I like to eat pussy.” I tried to distract her by commenting on the drums or something and at the end of it she was like, “Nice try.” (laughs) Mom was a little sharper than I gave her credit for. But as far as any challenges, we didn’t care. I don’t think the lyrics had the effect they had until Peter first went to Europe with Type O Negative with Carnivore lyrics. He was outlaw #1. Of course there were people here in our city that were offended but at the same time we were building a strong underground following and that’s what we wanted. But we honestly didn’t care if people were offended.
“I possess the strength
Of one hundred thousand glaciers
Triumphantly I stride far beyond
The broken laws of nature
Every storm extends my life
A century or longer
That which does not destroy me
Only makes me stronger
My sanguineous appetite
-The Subhuman, Carnivore-Retaliation
Who were your musical influences and influences in general?
As far as the band goes, Black Sabbath influenced us. Peter personally influenced me. I got to know a much different Peter than the rest of the world got to know. He was a role a model to me. He had a work ethic second to none and that’s something I’ve carried with me my entire life. I always tried to live up to that when we played. I never wanted to disappoint. I wanted to deliver what was demanded of me and he demanded a lot. We also began working out after rehearsals too. I remember we used to frequent Ferrigno’s gym and even jog together at the tracks in order to build ourselves up and look good on stage. That was a time when Peter was more disciplined. But the best guitarist I ever played with was John Campos. There was nothing mechanical about him; he just had a natural rhythm. It would have been interesting if we had stuck together.
As far as drumming goes, my personal influences were John Bonham and Neil Peart. One of the biggest compliments I ever received was being compared to the two. Greatest thing anyone ever told me.
Brooklyn has definitely changed and most people used to think of it as an area of crime and violence. Yet there seems to be a deep-rooted respect from those that grew up there. Why do you think that is?
Well I have a theory and I think I know why that is. I eventually moved to Staten Island and I discovered there were a few more wise asses around here. Basically because most people were the same, whereas Brooklyn you had such a mix of different people, different cultures, and different backgrounds you thought twice before you shot your mouth off. You were just more cautious with how you approached people. It’s a tolerance you learn and a respect that comes with it.
How was it working with Peter in those days?
Difficult. It wasn’t easy. He demanded perfection. Long rehearsals and there were times when Marc and Peter wouldn’t agree or Keith and Peter wouldn’t agree on how something should sound and it made for long rehearsals, but when Peter wrote a song he already had the sound in his head. Fortunately for me I always played what it was that he was hearing and eventually we realized there was something special about how Peter wrote and they would just end up giving in and doing it that way.
Keith died in a bicycle accident. Since he was a huge part of Carnivore is there anything you would like to add about him? Anything you would like fans to know who may not have known Keith?
Carnivore was the most solid as a band and we were all the closest when Keith was in the band. Many nights after rehearsal I would drive Keith home, since he didn’t drive, we would sit in his driveway for an hour or two hours talking about the band and ideas about marketing the band, stage presence and bonding about dedicating ourselves to the band, how to make it bigger and more known. Keith was like a brother to me. One of the hardest things I ever had to do in my life was support Peter’s decision to replace Keith. Keith was actually more of the mouthpiece for the band and spoke to the audience. Peter was kind of shy believe it or not. But uh, I guess he wasn’t experienced enough to maintain the crowd and concentrate on the parts he was playing and would mess up. I mean we all did at times, but Peter took it to a point where he felt it was too embarrassing. Peter wasn’t happy that he felt this way but I could tell he wasn’t going to reconsider. It was his ballgame. This change had to occur. It was a bad day when we broke the news.
Why did Carnivore break up?
Ya know, Peter and I knew we were in a business together, making music, and we both agreed to never try to let that get in the way of our friendship. We would never want the band to interfere with our friendship and it does happen. We were working on the third Carnivore album, which was actually the first Type O Negative album, “Slow, Deep, and Hard”. Carnivore never did a third album technically. The second Carnivore album had more of a punk feel too it and the direction Peter wanted to take the third album into was not very comfortable for me. I didn’t want to go in the direction that Peter wanted to go in. I felt it would alienate fans and we were both working for the city, Peter was working for the Park’s Dept. and I was working for the transit and we both didn’t have the means or time to really market this album the way most bands would and I wanted it to be good enough to stand on its own without being so alienating. Maybe even doing a song with no profanity so it could be played on the college stations, ya know, get some airplay. Peter felt indifferent to that and thought I was trying to dictate what he should write and I told him I wasn’t trying to tell him what to write, but that I didn’t feel comfortable with the direction he wanted to go in. My heart wasn’t in it and when music stops being fun and starts becoming an obligation, people know. It becomes obvious and I didn’t want to that to happen. I’m always proud of things I do and if I have to feel shy about this third record how can I put my heart into that? We agreed to disagree. It was then that we decided that it was time to part ways on the music front. It gets to a point where you’re asked to compromise yourself a little more than the last time and it gets to the point when it becomes necessary to ask yourself when it’s enough. But then I remembered that I loved Peter and he was my best friend and we always swore that this would never happen to us so that’s why we decided to agree to disagree before things got out of hand and cancerous. It was a healthy thing for us to do I think.
How did Type O Negative form?
As far as I know, Sal Abruscato (who was one of my students I taught drums too) and “Toxic” Bob Deacy were in a band called Toximia, and on occasion they jammed with Pete. So After Carnivore, Sal, Kenny, Bob and Peter were all jamming. A few of the guys started to record a demo down at Josh’s studio and next thing I know keyboards are being included into it. When I actually got to hear the finished product it was half and half old Carnivore songs we were working on. But some of the songs were different and had been written differently. Then Johnny joined. He’s a great guy, a hard worker. He’s not a pretentious guy and he knows what his capabilities are. He found his niche throughout his musical career and he plays them all well. He plays smart. But uh, the Peter I knew never wanted to be a rock star with that kind of fame. He would have been just as happy writing music and playing music.
What went through your mind when Peter passed? How did you find out?
I remember I got a call one day at about ten o’clock and I saw that it was Peter’s number. I almost didn’t answer the phone because I was putting my kid to bed. I answered the phone and it was Peter’s girlfriend at the time. She was crying and she told me she wanted to tell me something before someone else told me, that Peter died that night, he had a heart attack. I was in shock. It was surreal. I kept asking what do you mean Peter’s dead? I knew that Peter had mentioned wanting to die sometimes, especially when he was going through his issues with substance abuse, but it was still surreal. The time leading up to his death it was almost like he knew his time was short… I don’t know how to explain it. We weren’t in each other’s lives everyday. I mean I had moved on with my life and we talked on occasion, but more frequently since I lost my mother shortly before Peter passed. Peter also had a lot of mourning over my mother passing because they were close. But I can only imagine how it must have been for the other guys like Kenny, Johnny, and Josh. I mean they spent more time with him during that time in Peter’s life more than I did. I can’t imagine how it must have been “losing your friend and career in one day”, as one of the guys told me.
How did Agnostic Front and Carnivore come together to produce Cause For Alarm?
We had the same manager and they were obligated to Combat Records to have a new product and they didn’t have a drummer so they asked me to play on their new record. Apparently I wasn’t too sure about the validity of this but they seemed more interested in adding a more metal sound to their record and interestingly enough we were interested in adding a more punk sound to ours. So that happened right around the time we were transitioning to find a new guitarist after Keith left the band. We had Marc join the band shortly after. So we rehearsed at a studio in Brooklyn and I would do a Carnivore rehearsal and then I would rehearse with Agnostic Front. At the time they didn’t have all the lyrics to some of their songs and some of the music was loosely structured so we had to work on getting everything together. So Peter helped write some of the lyrics and maybe even contributed to some of the music as well. Cause For Alarm was actually the name of Alex Kinon’s band and as a tribute to his involvement to the band; they named the album Cause For Alarm. Roger, Stigma, Alex…. They’re all incredible people. They have maintained that sense of brotherhood, camaraderie, and are just good-natured people who made you want to be around them. So it was cool that 20+ years later we would be playing together again.
Did you have any other musical pursuits after Carnivore?
The extent of my music career was Fallout, Carnivore, and the stint with Agnostic Front. I never felt satiated in any other situation. I mean, I jammed with other people and I played bar music like classic rock. One day I was just like I can’t do this anymore. The guys were like “Why?” and I kept having to tell them to turn up the volume, I just felt the songs were too lame, and I wanted to dig into my drums and they couldn’t keep up with the volume. I don’t want to play Tom Petty, I wanted to play Carnivore, hardcore. So it wasn’t fair to continue with those guys so that was it.
How was the Agnostic Front-Cause For Alarm reunion at the Black n Blue Bowl in Brooklyn?
Oh it was awesome. It was great seeing all the guys again and playing with Agnostic Front. It’s funny because I have a family and they’ve heard all the stories. My kids and wife have listened to me talk about the scene and my memories so it was important for them to be there and see what I was about to attempt to do if I still had it, playing this album again, and to see what the scene was like. It was also great seeing Biohazard. I probably had more fun hanging with those guys than I did with Peter because Peter used to be so strict. He wasn’t the partier. I remember the days when Peter was a virgin, didn’t drink, or smoke, or do anything. (laughs) I will never forget their first gig. It was at the Pyramid Club in East Village and the audience was small, had never heard them before but the few people who were there loved them. Two years later I was driving down Broadway and I pass Tower Records and I see Warner Brothers had an entire window dedicated to Biohazard. I was like Holy shit! It was amazing that the circle of friends we had and the music that came out of Brooklyn made such an impact and most of the guys ended up becoming something big.
Any crazy band stories or funny memories?
(laughs) There are numerous stories, but here’s a funny one. I remember we had an interview at a local radio station for Carnivore. Paris from Cro-Mags came with us. He was telling us about the interview they did down there and how cool they were at the station. They had ordered pizza and beer for them and it went really well. So we were like cool. We get there and get in the DJ booth and there was no beer or pizza and when we asked for a glass of water we were directed to a water fountain out in the hallway. So we finish this interview and the guy thanks us for coming down and we’re like, “That’s it?” and the guys like, “Yeah that’s all we have time for”. We say goodbye and leave and of course we’re listening to the radio station as we get into the car and we hear him apologizing to the audience for such a lengthy Carnivore interview. Paris was like, “Holy shit I can’t believe he just said that!” So I turned the car around in a screeching U-Turn and raced back to the studio. So now I’m pissed. We just came all the way down here to give this interview and this guy says this? I walked right into the studio where the guy was spinning records or whatever and I says to the guy that he needs to get on the air and apologize to Carnivore. And he’s all like he can’t do that and then I start throwing records around and trashing the place. I walked up to his set where he was spinning a record and I dragged the needle across the record. The guy looked like he was shitting himself, so he jumps on the air and says, “I’d like to apologize about my comments to Carnivore.” Afterwards that was the last interview Roadrunner let me do. I told Pete that they couldn’t send me out on my own anymore. (laughs)
Any philosophies or advice you’d like to leave out there for the future generations?
Well I could be cute and say, “If you can’t eat it or fuck it, kill it.” (laughs)
Be true to yourself and pursue your dreams otherwise it’s going to be an empty life. Even if you just get a taste. I had my cake and ate it too. I had a taste of the music I loved and I have the American Dream. A beautiful wife and children I love. I’m fortunate that I got to have the best of both worlds.
Interviewer notes: By Lady Deviant
It’s something rare to be able to capture a certain time. Once those times are gone, they’re gone forever. Maybe through historical phases may we see a glimpse or an essence of what used to be. But one thing is certain. Fallout, Carnivore, Type O Negative, and all the brothers of the scene that shaped the way we understand punk and hardcore will forever be ingrained in our minds, bodies, and souls.
And if you can’t eat it or fuck it……